The efficiency and accuracy of several time integration schemes are investigated for the unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. This study focuses on the efficiency of higher-order Runge-Kutta schemes in comparison with the popular Backward Differencing Formulations. For this comparison an unsteady two-dimensional laminar flow problem is chosen, i.e., flow around a circular cylinder at Re = 1200. It is concluded that for realistic error tolerances (smaller than 10(exp -1)) fourth-and fifth-order Runge-Kutta schemes are the most efficient. For reasons of robustness and computer storage, the fourth-order Runge-Kutta method is recommended. The efficiency of the fourth-order Runge-Kutta scheme exceeds that of second-order Backward Difference Formula by a factor of 2.5 at engineering error tolerance levels (10(exp -1) to 10(exp -2)). Efficiency gains are more dramatic at smaller tolerances.